It’s the spookiest time of the year, and while many of us are planning visits to one, or more, of Long Island’s immersive “haunted houses” to be creeped out to the core, it’s the perfect season to discover that Long Island is also home to multiple historic spots that host some downright chilling stories of ghosts, murder and revenge.
So don’t be a scaredy-cat: Come check out some Long Island’s real haunted sites, most of which welcome foolish mortals around Halloween.
Camp Hero State Park
1898 Montauk Highway, Montauk
Camp Hero State Park is possibly the most well-known spooky spots on Long Island—and serves as the inspiration for the Netflix series Stranger Things. Camp Hero was constructed in 1942 as a military base amid World War II. So the story goes, the site was also home to a military experiment facility named the “Montauk Project” which kidnapped children and experimented on them in an effort to interact with another dimension. After the 1980s, the site was deemed outdated for its purpose and donated to New York State and opened to the public. Rumor has it that the spirit of creatures from other dimensions, and those lost children, still linger on the property.
Kings Park Psychiatric Center
Nissequogue River State Park, 799 St Johnland Rd., Kings Park
The Kings Park Psychiatric Center was created in 1885 as the Kings County Asylum, according to Untapped New York. The facility was established to address hospital overcrowding in New York and provide a safe environment for the mentally ill. At its peak in the 1950s, the state-run center had over 9,000 patients. What began as a healthy treatment facility allegedly shifted to a more violent approach for addressing mental health issues: lobotomies and shock therapy became part of patient treatments.
The building closed its doors in 1996. The now-dilapidated structure still stands in Kings Park, though it is illegal to trespass on the site. Visitors can, however, walk past the eerie structure through the Nissequogue River State Park, where they may hear the screams of former patients coming from the abandoned campus.
Country House Restaurant
1175 North Country Rd., Stony Brook
Around Christmas, the iconic Country House Restaurant is wrapped up with colorful, gargantuan bows like a perfect holiday present. But during Halloween, the building’s spooky history takes priority.
First built in 1710 as a home, the Country House allegedly has a chilling history that took place during the Revolutionary War. According to the Country House Restaurant website, resident Annette Williamson was alone in the house when a group of British troops occupied the home. After the troops left, Williamson was viewed as a spy from locals from that point on—and rumor has it that she was hung inside the home. The Country House Restaurant website states that Williamson has been known to haunt the premises, and can be seen in images taken inside the restaurant from time to time. The restaurant is open to the public and can cater parties, weddings and more. Learn more here.
77 Crescent Beach Rd., Glen Cove
The historic Woolworth Estate was designed in 1916 for Frank Winfield Woolworth. The estate’s main building, Winfield Hall, is an Italian Renaissance-style house that’s approximately 32,000 square feet. In May 1917, Woolworth’s middle daughter Edna committed suicide (though the location of her death is unclear.) A family crest allegedly shattered the same day of her death. Rumor has it that since then, creepy sounds have allegedly been reported in the mansion, where a female spirit is rumored to often appear.
Amityville Horror House
112 Ocean Ave., Amityville
One of the most infamous haunted houses on Long Island is the “Amityville Horror” house, where Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered six of his family members in 1974. DeFeo Jr. killed his parents and four siblings in their sleep. After DeFeo Jr. was convicted for the crimes, George and Kathleen Lutz purchased the home, where they maintained a short residence there with their children. Continuous paranormal activity allegedly ushered them out. The story inspired numerous books, films and documentaries. Though the haunting took place over 45 years ago, the home remains a staple of Long Island’s creepiest haunted homes. Individuals can drive past the home, though it’s private property.
Old Bethpage Village Restoration
1303 Round Swamp Rd., Old Bethpage
The historic Old Bethpage Village Restoration is a 19th-century history museum that offers visitors the opportunity to step back in time to better understand local homes, farms and businesses during the Civil War. However, it’s rumored that some of the buildings on the site are haunted: One of them is the Conklin House, where a woman in historic attire (not an actress) has been reportedly seen on the upper floor of the structure and there have been “loud banging sounds,” according to lihauntedhouses.com. Similarly, the Hewlett and Williams Houses have allegedly had regular visits from apparitions. Learn more about visits here.
Looking for something a little scary? Check out these Long Island apple picking picks.